British Gas

British Gas in a nutshell

  • British Gas is the largest energy company in the UK.
  • The British Gas fuel mix rests on an even distribution of coal, natural gas and nuclear.
  • British Gas prices are neither the lowest nor the highest of the Big Six.
  • Customer care hours are extensive but complaints take a while to get resolved.

British Gas, the UK’s original utilities company

British Gas in its current form was founded in 1997. However, its ancestor, the Gas Light and Coke Company, was the first public utility company in the world (1812). It became British Gas in 1986 when the gas industry was privatised with the Gas Act. British Gas became a subsidiary of Centrica in 1997.

British Gas remains the UK’s largest electricity and gas supplier

Today, British Gas has over 20 million electricity and gas, residential and business customers. With SSE, another Big Six company, it is also one of the two large energy suppliers with UK ownership. In 2012, British Gas operating profit was almost £1.1 billion, up roughly 10% on 2011. The British Gas parent company, Centrica, employs over 30,000 people in the UK.

British Gas: a vertically integrated energy company

As well supplying electricity and gas to households and businesses in the UK, the British Gas parent company Centrica owns a fair share of electricity generation and natural gas production and storage facilities:

  • Centrica Storage Ltd owns the Rough natural gas storage facility, which is able to meet up to 10% of the UK's peak demand, by far the largest natural gas storage facility in the country.
  • Centrica's combined-cycle gas turbine and wind power stations account for over 4% of the UK's total electricity generation capacity.

The British Gas electricity fuel mix is predominantly natural gas, nuclear and coal

The following chart accounts for the composition of the British Gas electricity fuel mix. Compared to the other Big Six suppliers, British Gas enjoys a relatively balanced mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear and renewables.

Current British Gas energy prices

The following table shows average British Gas standard tariff comparison rates (based on an annual usage of 3,200 kWh for electricity and 13,500 kWh for gas) as of May 2014. Compared to the other Big Six energy suppliers, British Gas is neither the cheapest nor the most expensive when it comes to the standard, variable contract. However, for those seeking fixed tariffs for as long as possible, British Gas fixed prices extend only until March 2016.



Average cost duel fuel

Average cost electricity only

Average cost gas only


- No contract
- Available for Pay As You Go customers
- No exit fees

£ 1,193

£ 504

£ 705

Fixed Price May 2015

- Fixed prices until May 2015
- £ 60 exit fee (£ 30 per fuel)

£ 1,077



Fix & Reward August 2015

- Fixed prices until August 2015
- £ 50 gift card
- Offer ends on 29 June 2014
- £ 60 exit fee (£ 30 per fuel)

£ 1,193



Fixed Price March 2016

- Fixed prices until March 2016
- Available for Pay As You Go customers
- £ 50 / fuel exit fee

£ 1,257

£ 531

£ 742

Source: British Gas website.

Contacting British Gas

Contacting British Gas by telephone

The following table lists British Gas customer care numbers with their opening hours, for those wishing to make an enquiry. British Gas is one of the three Big Six suppliers with relatively long customer care operating hours (8am to 8pm Monday to Friday; 8am to 6pm on Saturdays). Compare how extensive all suppliers' customer care operating hours are.


Contact number(s)

Opening hours

Account enquiries

0800 048 0202

Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-6pm

Pay As You Go Energy

0800 048 0303 (enquiries)
0800 048 0303 (moving home)
0800 107 0188 (top up)

Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-6pm


0800 980 6005

Mon-Fri, 8am-8pm; Sat, 8am-5pm

Energy saving advice

0800 072 8629

Mon-Fri, 8am-5pm

National gas emergency

0800 111 999



Contacting British Gas by mail

Letters to British Gas can be sent to:
British Gas
PO Box 4805
BN11 9QW

British Gas customer reviews

British Gas complaints handling

In 2012-2013, British Gas received over 1.2 million complaints. These complaints were mostly (79%) dealt with before the end of the next working day. Of all complaints, 28% were about payments, 21% about billing, 9% about credit management, 9% about metering and 7% about customer service. This is respectable compared to other energy suppliers on the UK market.

What customers say about British Gas

Positive reviews about British Gas

  • Customers are often proud and reassured to be with the UK’s oldest and largest utilities company.

“It is good to know that I am getting electricity and gas from Great Britain’s biggest energy company.”

  • Customers are generally content with British Gas online and telephone services.

“British Gas customer care is usually efficient and friendly. It’s useful to be able to book an engineer, submit meter readings, compare usage and pay bills from my iPhone.”

  • Customers find setting up and using their British Gas accounts relatively painless.

“Switching to British Gas was very easy: I did a rough comparison online then gave sales a call. Managing my account on the website is practical and informative.”

  • Customers appreciate collecting nectar points at no extra cost.

“It’s great to link energy usage and billing to a loyalty programme!”

Negative reviews on British Gas

  • British Gas complaints take time to get resolved.

“It takes an unusually long time to update random meter readings. When I last called, we spoke for over 40 minutes and went over the same issue three times! Although my meter readings were ultimately changed it was a real hassle to get customer service to do it and took much longer than it should have.”

  • British Gas billing is inaccurate.

“When recently moved homes, my bills decreased because apparently my home was more energy efficient. But two years later, I get told I’ve underpaid and my direct debit gets changed without my approval? It’s not professional.”

  • The British Gas website is comprehensive but not functional.

“Although the website seems decent initially, I can’t see my electricity usage. I’ve told British Gas and they’ve acknowledged my issue but it’s still not working.”

  • British Gas homecare can be unreliable.

“I have not been able to book British Gas homecare appointments online. I had to wait three months for a booking and it got cancelled at the last minute.”